Banana Peels - The New Water Purifier?

By Meera Dolasia on November 27, 2011

Word Search

While the banana peel has a reputation of just being a slippery hazard, it is actually useful for many things - Ranging from use as a fertilizer to curing warts and even, polishing shoes and silver. Now it turns out, that it can even help remove heavy metals from water.

The discovery was made by Brazilian environmental scientist and banana lover Gustavo Castro. The Sao Paulo University researcher had heard that the most nutritious part of the banana was not the inside, but the seemingly useless skin, and decided to investigate if that was indeed true.

His tests revealed the presence of nitrogen, sulfur and most importantly, organic compounds like carboxylic acids, that have the capability of binding with metals that they come in contact with.

To experiment if the acids in the peels would be effective in polluted water, he and some colleagues dried and minced some banana peels and added them to jars of water obtained from Brazil's Panama River, which is known to contain copper and lead. They also built filters by compressing the peels and then pushed water through them.

Not only did the peels perform better than existing purifiers like silica and carbon, but they also could also, be re-used eleven times before they stopped working! In addition to that, they are low cost, can easily be found all over the world and, leave behind no chemical residue. The only drawback is that they are not effective in killing bacteria.

While Mr. Castro who has published his findings in the American Chemical Society's Journal of Industrial & Engineering Chemistry Research, does not advocate this method for home use given that the amount of metal found in tap water is minuscule, he hopes that it will be adopted in waters located near large manufacturing plants. This is not the first time plant parts have been effective in removing toxins from water. In the past, waste from apples and sugar cane, as well as, coconut fibers and even peanut shells have shown similar qualities.

Resources: gizmag.com, NPR.org

Share by EmailShare on FacebookShare on Google+Share on TwitterShare on tumblrShare on StumbleUponShare on PinterestShare on RedditShare on Edmodo
510 Comments
to use your custom avatar.
  • rajas_pro
    rajas_proMonday, March 16, 2015 at 6:40 pm
    This is so amazing. Anyway, the banana peel is an efficient tool to clean or filter polluted water. The banana is really helpful except that it can't kill bacteria, but Sunlight, Vinegar, or Hot Water could be combined to help the banana peel clean or filter the polluted water.
    • jeffSaturday, March 14, 2015 at 5:31 pm
      lol
      • Santa Clause Monday, March 2, 2015 at 12:32 pm
        Ho Ho Ho, I think using bananas as a water purifier is GREAT! I hope you all are being nice this year! Have a great rest of the year (person reading this and all) -Mr. Clause
        • Captain rex fanMonday, March 2, 2015 at 10:52 am
          awsome never knew that ether
          • diamondkid
            diamondkidMonday, March 2, 2015 at 5:09 am
            Cool, I never knew that!
            • StrangerWednesday, February 18, 2015 at 6:08 am
              This is so cool! I wish I liked bananas so when I use a banana peel for the examples above I don't have to throw the actual banana out!
              • Vidhi PatelSunday, February 8, 2015 at 2:21 pm
                Sooooooooooooooooooo Cool!!! Though, we can UV rays to kill bacteria. :)
                • rajas_pro
                  rajas_proMonday, March 16, 2015 at 6:41 pm
                  Wow
                • BoySunday, February 8, 2015 at 12:40 pm
                  Yeah!
                  • rockoSunday, February 8, 2015 at 12:40 pm
                    #BananasAreAwesome!
                    • rockoSunday, February 8, 2015 at 12:35 pm
                      #BananasAreAwesome

                      Vocabulary

                      advocatecarboninvestigateminusculeresiduesilica

                      Geography

                      Recent Comments

                      basi344
                      basi344 wrote:

                      I would keep a pig that is NOT a...
                      Cinders - A Pig That Fears Mud!

                      zip512
                      zip512 wrote:

                      I feel so bad for him! He is so ...
                      On Friday Show Your Support For ...

                      basi344
                      basi344 wrote:

                      Hilarious!!! True that!!
                      Cinders - A Pig That Fears Mud!

                      basi344
                      basi344 wrote:

                      I've never heard of a pig that f...
                      Cinders - A Pig That Fears Mud!

                      ALA